In 2020, George Enescu International Competition reinforces its top position in international rankings, as it continues to attract an increasing number of worthy competitors. Moreover, the 17th edition of the event is set to treat its audience to a special experience: a competition aimed to reveal ‘Beauty in Life’ and challenges us to prove that we all have the power to reinvent ourselves while embracing equally beauty and life.

2021 Phase

The 2020 George Enescu International Competition has seen its first phase unfold last year, fulfilling the promise to bring Beauty in Life despite the pandemic. The Competition reinvented itself online, holding the first two rounds virtually, in September 2020. Results of the first two rounds can be viewed here. For the Semifinals and Finals, all 23 semifinalists in all three sections (violin, cello, piano), the conductors, and most of the jury members will come to Bucharest in person, in compliance nonetheless with the sanitary measures in place.

The Semifinals will consist of recitals wherein contestants perform sonatas by George Enescu and will take place on May 13 – Cello, May 17 – Violin, May 21 – Piano. Online access to the Semifinals will be free of charge for all audiences, through the website

For the Finals, selected contestants will perform in a concert with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of internationally renowned conductors Nicolas Altstaedt, Wilson Hermanto, and John Axelrod. The Finals will take place on May 15 – Cello; May 19 – Violin; and May 23 – Piano. Access to the online viewing of these concerts will be based on a paid ticket or subscription.

Between the competition performances, music lovers will be able to enjoy six special Recitals given by members of the juries and leading musicians of the moment – Mihaela Martin, Frans Helmerson & Plamena Mangova Trio; Roland Pöntinen; Dmitry Sitkovetsky & Iain Burnside, as well as winners of previous editions of the Enescu Competition: Vikram Sedona – violin, Marcel Johannes Kits – cello, and Victoria Vassilenko – piano. Access to these recitals will also be based on paid tickets or subscriptions.

The Competition’s full Program can be viewed here:

All contestants who will take part in the Semifinals of the three sections are listed here, under the “Results” tab.


1. Romanian Athenaeum

2. Online

Enescu Competition tickets and subscriptions for the online viewing of the concerts and special recitals performed live in the second phase of the 2020 Edition, which will take place from May 12 to 23, 2021, at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, are on sale.

Concerts will be accessible on the Enescu Competition online platform and will be available for 12 hours from the moment the concert or recital has started, on a single electronic device at the buyers’ choice (computer, smartphone, or tablet). The live stream can be accessed from the “Program” tab of the 2020-2021 Competition webpage or by going to the individual page of each event on the website.

The Online Phase of the Enescu Competition

The George Enescu International Competition was reorganized due to the worsening of the global situation generated by COVID-19 in two distinct phases: the first two rounds of the Competition were held online in September according to the initial calendar, whereas the Semifinals and Finals of all sections were rescheduled for May 2021, at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest.

205 young musicians participated in the Competition after the online reorganization of the event, out of the 272 musicians who passed the pre-selection in June. The First and Second Round of each instrument section was held online according to the calendar, given that both the public and the members of the Jury listened to and analyzed the competitors’ recordings. The 205 candidates who competed this September represent 39 countries. Out of them, 184 competed in the three instruments sections: violin (66), cello (54), piano (64) and 21 participated in the Composition Section, with 26 works. The participants are between 14 and 33 years old.

The classical music lovers can rewatch the Opening Gala Concert, the competitors’ recordings from the first two rounds of each section, as well as other events from the Competition (press conferences, the presidents of the juries’ video announcements of the results, the Campaign clip a.o.) on the Competition’s website in the Video Gallery.

For more news, follow the information we publish on our website and subscribe to our  Newsletter.

The Enescu Competition invites you so “Save the Beauty in Life”!

The George Enescu International Competition launched on the 19th of August, the anniversary of the great composer George Enescu, the “Save the Beauty in Life” Challenge, inviting the whole society to respond and take an attitude in front of fear, adversity and the uncertainty generated by the pandemic, by giving value to life and beauty that gives meaning and joy to every person.  

More about the Challenge | A manifesto of social and personal responsibility

The 2020 Enescu Competition’ spot:

Recording of the “Save the Beauty in Life” discussions:

Musicians, actors, people of culture and lovers of life discussing about the Enescu Competition and about saving the beauty in times of pandemic. 

The Competition acts as an international launching platform for future outstanding musicians, as well as for promoting George Enescu’s work among the new generation of artists worldwide. Enescu Competition is a natural addition to the George Enescu Festival, the most important international cultural event organized in Romania.

The Competition’s structure follows the example set in life by the very artist whose name it bears. It nurtures and promotes young talents from all over the world, just as the great composer used to help young musicians during his life. As the Honorary Director of the Romanian Musical Association, George Enescu made substantial donations to pay for musicians’ scholarships. In 1912 he took a tour through Romania and raised over a thousand sterling pounds – a huge amount of money at that time – to launch a national composition award.

Beauty in Life

Music, said George Enescu, goes from one heart to another. When two hearts speak to each other wordlessly, beauty comes into being, rising above the everyday struggles and gloom. Where words are silent, music finds its voice, guiding us into a life of Pure Beauty. This is why, more than being a competition in artistic virtuosity, George Enescu 2020 Competition wants to embrace beauty into our lives, as well as in the public arena, in denial and defiance of the energy invested in aggressive competitiveness elsewhere.

The 2020 George Enescu International Competition, scheduled to take place between August 29 and September 20, still goes ahead, albeit in a new format with two distinct phases. The first two rounds of the Competition will be held online in September according to the initial calendar, whereas the Semifinals and Finals of all sections are rescheduled for May 2021, at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. 

The decision was made by the Competition’s organizer, ARTEXIM, after deliberate discussions with the members of the juries and the Artistic Director of the Enescu Festival and Competition, Vladimir Jurowski, in the context of the escalation of pandemic worldwide, to protect the health of all participants – young musicians, artists who are jury members, general public and the organizing team.

The Program and Stages of Competition (after reorganizing them)

  • The 2020 Edition will open with a Gala Concert on the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum, performed by three of laureates: Gyehee Kim (violin, 2016), Valentin Răduțiu (cello, 2011) and Viktoria Vassilenko (piano, 2016).
  • They will perform the world premiere of “Brahmsodia” – Triple-concert for violin, cello, and piano, op. 169, composed especially for this edition by Dan Dediu, the first winner of the George Enescu Composition Competition, in 1991.
  • Competitors who signed up for violin, cello, and piano will go through a pre-selection process.
  • During the Competition, the public will have online access to the first two stages of the Competition. More details here
  • Several recitals will be held in Bucharest by members of the international juries, all renowned international classical musicians. The recitals will be held in the second phase of the Competition, in May 2021.
  • Three of the world’s greatest conductors – Wilson Hermanto (Principal Guest Conductor of the Cameristi della Scala Orchestra – Italy), Nicolas Altstaedt (Artistic Director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and of the Haydn Philharmonie), and Josep Caballé Domenech (Musical Director of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic – USA) will join the Competition for the first time. John Axelrod (Music and Artistic Director of the Real Symphony Orchestra of Seville), the fourth distinguished conductor present this year, is already accustomed to the Competition, as he participated in the 2016 Edition.
  • New prizes were introduced to encourage the spirit of competition – not only financial prizes (their total value exceeding 100,000 Euro) but also, and most importantly, prizes destined to encourage the international promotion and artistic launch of the most talented competitors.
  • Winning the 1st place at the Enescu 2020 Competition is the sure ticket to being on stage at the 2021 George Enescu International Festival – the most talented competitors will have the opportunity to perform at the next edition of the Festival with some of the world’s greatest orchestras (such as The Orchestra of the Americas, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and many others).

For more news, follow the information we publish on our website and subscribe to our  Newsletter.

Great International Laureates of the George Enescu Competition

Remarkable soloists such as pianists Radu Lupu, Valentin Gheorghiu, and Dan Grigore; renowned violinist Silvia Marcovici, who performed under the baton of the world’s most famous conductors (Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, etc.); soprano Ileana Cotrubaș, mezzo-soprano Vioriorica Cortez, composer Dan Dediu; as well as prominent Romanian musicians of the new generation – Alexandru Tomescu, Vlad Stănculeasa, Remus Azoiței, Ana Țifu, Stefan Tarara, Valentin Răduțiu, Mihai Ritivoiu, – are just a few of the most appreciated international Romanian musicians who made their international debut as winners of the George Enescu International Competition.

Romanian and worldwide important musicians alike have engaged in successful international careers due to the spotlight and recognition granted by Enescu Competition. To name just one – the famous Georgian pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja, “the Great Lady of Piano”, a lifelong friend and musical partner of Master Sviatoslav Richter, who won – in the early days of her career (1964) – the First Prize in the Piano Section at the George Enescu Competition. Agnes Baltsa, Li Ming Qiang, Igor Aleksandrovich Frolov, Arie Vardi, Oleg Moiseevich Kagan, Pascal Mahé Rogé, Cristina Ortiz, Dmitri Alexseev, Valeriy Sokolov number themselves as well amongst the musicians whose international careers have been indelibly shaped by their early participation in the George Enescu Competition. Among the winners of the latest editions we mention the pianists Josu de Solaun and Daumants Liepiņš, cellist Zlatomir Fung, violinists Nemanja Radulović and Erzhan Kulibaev.

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